Thursday, September 29, 2016

Get Rid of That 5 O'Clock Shadow

Trans women and some cis men seem to have at least one thing in common... The pesky 5 o'clock shadow. I have put together some tips below that I have learned to give you all some advice on different ways you can get rid of or at least minimize it. While this is written fro trans women the advice will work for anyone needing a close clean shave :)

As for facial hair, I personally find nothing more frustrating, and in many cases nothing that will get us read more, than this. Fortunately I have a few great tips for getting rid of it!

Get a Close Shave

This may sound like a no brainier but really, do everything you can to get a very close shave. No attempt to hide your shadow will work if you have stubble sticking up through your makeup!

Ok, so how do you get a close shave... Here are some tips and advice:
  1. Use a new razor. I like the Mach 3 (My personal go to, especially for my legs!).
  2. Steam your face for a few minutes with a hot face cloth to soften the hairs.
  3. Use a good shaving cream (this is actually far more important that you think) and apply it with a shaving cream brush... This alone helps dramatically! And ladies, don't shy away from using men's shaving tools here. Using a shaving brush helps lift the hairs to get a closer shave! In fact, I guarantee that shadow is far more stubborn that your pride!
  4. Lastly, shave in angles, not straight down. This helps to cut the hairs instead of pulling them. The less irritation you have the closer you can shave.

Use Makeup to Camouflage Your 5 O'Clock Shadow, Not Just to Cover It Up

The problem with using makeup to cover your 5 o'clock shadow is that most people don't realize that the area where your shadow is takes on a blue / grey hue and is dramatically different in color then the rest of your face. Now, if you just take concealer or foundation that matches your normal skin tone and try to use it to cover this area you will almost always end up making the shadow area lighter then the surrounding skin and it ends up standing out even more then before you started! So if this doesn't work, what can you do?

Well, instead of caking on the makeup and praying no one notices, try to counteract the blue hue of the beard growth by adding a bit of red over top of it.

To do this dab a bit of matte red lipstick on the areas that are where you have a shadow: your upper lip, chin, cheeks and maybe even your neck. Now blend it in well! Note that this will not be perfect, especially for people who have had little to no permanent hair removal, but most people can get it pretty darn close! Lastly, make sure you avoid getting the red on the areas that do not have any hair growth!

Now once you even out the coloring of your skin you should be able to just apply a normal amount of foundation and be done. No caked on concealer!

I will warn that this does take a lot of practice to get right but once you get it down it works great! You will not regret taking the time to get it right, just remember that the key is to get a good balance between the blue undertones and the red makeup... To much red and you look like you have a sunburn, to little and it doesn't work.

Now I understand this sounds simpler then it is but I have to stress that it really does work and is worth the practice. The alternative method of caking on concealer in an attempt to cover the shadow never works... EVER!

On a last note here I would love to have someone share a technique for African American skin tones as this is very much geared towards lighter skin.

Permanent Hair Removal

Of course you could also opt for having the hair permanently removed. Note that this is painful, time consuming, and expensive (in the long run maybe more expensive than SRS). I have had a lot of laser hair removal and electrolysis and I am still not done. For more information on this option, see my article on permanent hair removal.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Tips For Being a Trans Ally

I can't describe how important having supportive friends are during this process and even after you have been out and living full time for years. Please give this post a read and share this post and any information you can. I'd love to hear about your tips and things you do in the comments section below!

1. Don't out anyone... period
This needs no further information but remember outing not only shows a lack of trust but can affect a persons employment, relationships, family,... the list goes on and on. The general rule is, if the person says it is ok to talk about their transition with others that is one thing, if not then don't.

2. Don't ask what someone's old name was or worse what their "real" name is
Just don't... If a trans person want to volunteer this info let them do so on their own. They are who they are right now. Similarly, avoid asking to see pictures or asking any details about who they were before they transitioned. This also goes for someones genitals. Personally if you are concerned with what I have between my legs be either be on a date that is going well or you are my doctor. Everyone else can bugger off.

3. Don't assume you know a persons sexual identity based on the gender identity
This is one I get a lot actually. people assume a lot that I like men when in fact I identify more as a lesbian. Gender and sexuality are very different!

4. If you do not know someone's gender identity listen to them, ask. 
I am trans, I make mistakes in this regard as well. It is not always cut and dry what pronouns to use when talking. I find the best approach is to listen to them for a bit using their name. If I cannot figure it out through context I ask.

5. Listen and be a friend
Understand that coming out is hard and stressful. It is not an easy thing to do and not the same as coming out as gay, lesbian or bi. Also many trans people experiment with their identity, I know I do. Be patient with them and most important be supportive. Remember there is no right way to transition or present a gender (or no gender). Not ever trans woman is femme and not every trans man is masculine. I for one fluctuate between full on female femme to androgynous even into gender queer maleness.

One other bit of advice that falls under this headline is to avoid giving tips that sound like compliments. Statements like "You look like a real girl" or "I'd never had known", etc. sound supportive but can be taken very badly. Instead tell the person simply that they look nice. Also comments like "When you were..." can be awkward at best. Other phrases that can get tricky include phrases that start with "biological...", and "genetic...". The gist is try to avoid questions and comments that can be construed as invalidating.

6. Help your friends feel included and support their fight for inclusion in public spaces
Even things as trivial as using  public restrooms can be dangerous sometimes for trans people. The best way you can help in this regard is to support our fight for inclusive spaces and non-discrimination laws.

7. Words like "tranny," "shemale," "he-she,", etc...
Just don't use them...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Victory! Court orders WI school to immediately halt discriminatory policy against transgender student

(Kenosha, WI) – A federal court today ruled that a Wisconsin school must immediately halt its discriminatory policy of singling out...

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